Patch 3.3 – Icecrown Citadel Raid Access

I’m back from sunny FL to the wonderful cold, autumn rains, and the big buzz in the WoW raiding community today is all focused on Daelo’s post about Icecrown Citadel and Blizzard’s plan for Boss availability and attempt limitation in the instance.

Here is the post in full as well as a link to the original:

Icecrown Citadel testing has been progressing very well over the last few weeks, and this has been a huge help to the encounter design team. I want to thank everyone who has logged onto the PTR and tried the encounters there.

As we’re now getting closer to the release of 3.3.0, I wanted to talk about our plans for access progression within Icecrown Citadel. Icecrown Citadel is going to be broken up into four distinct sections: The Lower Spire, Plagueworks, Crimson Hall, and Frostwing Halls. We plan on releasing these four sections of Icecrown Citadel over time and not all immediately when patch 3.3.0 goes live. At this point I can’t give precise dates for these release dates as they are determined by when patch 3.3.0 goes live. Once dates are known with more certainty, I’ll update the community so they can plan appropriately.

The first section that opens will include the Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Icecrown Gunship Battle, and Deathbringer Saurfang encounters. Progress beyond that point will be prevented for several weeks. Then the Plagueworks will open with Rotface, Festergut, and Professor Putricide becoming available. After another period of time, the Crimson Hall will open and you can then fight the Blood Princes and Blood-Queen Lana’thel. The final Frostwing Halls unlock then occurs after that, making Valithria Dreamwalker, Sindragosa, and the Lich King available. We believe a staggered release of the content will allow players to experience Icecrown Citadel at a sustainable, measured, and ultimately more enjoyable pace.

There are other elements that gate access along the way. Players may not attempt any Heroic versions of 10 player encounters until they have defeated the Lich King in a 10 player raid. Similarly, players must defeat the Lich King in a 25 player raid before they can attempt a Heroic 25 player encounter. So players must master every normal difficulty encounter in Icecrown Citadel before attempting Heroic difficulty.

The Lich King may not be attempted until Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, and Sindragosa are defeated. Furthermore, the Heroic difficulty of The Lich King encounter may not be attempted in any week unless the three aforementioned encounters have been defeated in Heroic difficulty that week.

The Ashen Verdict provides reinforcements and material for players to assault Icecrown Citadel, but this support is not endless. Raids will have a limited number of attempts total each week to defeat the four most difficult encounters in Icecrown Citadel: Professor Putricide, Blood-Queen Lana’thel, Sindragosa, and the Lich King. As these boss encounters are unlocked, the number of attempts available per week will increase. The initial number of attempts provided for defeating Professor Putricide is only five. When Blood-Queen Lana’thel unlocks, the amount of total attempts remaining will increase to 10. Then when Sindragosa and the Lich King unlock, 15 total attempts will be available to defeat all four bosses. After a raid has exhausted their attempts for the week, the Ashen Verdict must withdraw their support and the four most difficult bosses all despawn and become unavailable for the week. The limited attempt system is a feature of both Normal and Heroic difficulty.

There will be no explicit rewards for defeating the Lich King with a specific number of attempts remaining as there was with Trial of the Grand Crusader. There will also not be an achievement to complete Icecrown Citadel without being defeated by a boss encounter, or letting a raid member die. (i.e. A Tribute to Insanity).

In the weeks and months after all twelve encounters are unlocked, additional attempts against the final four boss encounters become available. This represents the Ashen Verdict growing more powerful and gaining a stronger foothold in Icecrown Citadel. To further help raids, Varian Wrynn and Garrosh Hellscream will begin to provide assistance by inspiring the armies attacking Icecrown Citadel. This is represented as an additional zone wide spell effect applied to all players that will increase their hit points, damage dealt, and healing done. This effect will also increase in effectiveness over time. Players may opt out of the spell’s effect if they so wish.

My thoughts:

1. I actually have no problem with the Gating concept. It seems to fit well with the story they are attempting to build with the Ashen Verdict. It also saves guilds from feeling like they have to devote 24 hours to the raid instance for “first” kills. Although that would probably be the argument that top world and regional guilds would have against the “gating” idea.

2. A limit of five attempts seems a bit ridiculous. People are in raiding guilds because they enjoy raiding. If our time is too limited, you have the problem of boredom and losing core team members. Basically here, I just hope they know what they are doing and the potential pitfalls.

3. The buff that will gradually increase is a built in nerf. I don’t see the point of limiting the instance and building in a nerfing mechanic.

4. I’m still excited to see Icecrown Citadel. I’ve avoided too much spoiler information because I want to enjoy it. However, I’ll have to start researching boss abilities to ensure that my role is covered for my guildmates in our limited attempts.

5. I’m really glad they removed the Insanity and Immortality type of achievement. I dislike the dissention it could cause for raid teams. Making what should be farming run stressful and aggravating. This mechanic has not affected my guild yet in ToGC since we are still working on Anub, but I know it wasn’t fun for friends I have in other top guilds.

As always, it will be interesting to watch both the community feedback and the instance itself unfold. What an explosive 5th anniversary. 🙂




5 thoughts on “Patch 3.3 – Icecrown Citadel Raid Access

  1. With this final update to the continent of Northrend, has Blizzard succeeded in focusing the community on story and team spirit, instead of on loot and petty drama?

    The experience can be enjoyable regardless, with the right companions.

  2. If only that were true, I love the story and community so I think that comes out in my opinions. A lot of the community is merely drooling over “Shadowmourne” the new awesome 2-Hander.

    But to each their own. 🙂

    Enjoyment is an attitude as much as anything.

  3. True… and regardless of how much they succeed, I think the non-loot aspects are what they *try* to focus people on.. :​p Even when story just means a unique weapon proc, it’s still more than bigger numbers.

  4. Yeah, it’s really a shame that there is so much focus on gear and gear scores. We lose so much of the story and sense of community that way.

    Of course, when you’re in great gear and have a good raid team its easy to feel that way I guess.

    Glass half full – I think Blizzard is just trying to give everyone options to enjoy it as much as possible without having to put a lifetime investment in. Glass half empty – Which of course keeps their pockets more full of subscription money if people are enjoying and not burning out and cancelling.

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